I grew up believing that Jesus was perfect because he was born perfect. At least that’s what I was taught.
It is natural for human beings, at some point in life, to re/examine whatever belief we have held dear. We do this especially with something that we learned when we were young. Every human being reaches a point in life during which s/he can’t help but challenge common belief. Case in point is Santa Clause. Is there a toddler who does not believe in Santa Clause? By contrast, how many teenagers believe in Santa Clause? (…) My point exactly.
This process happens not because we are becoming cynical, but because we are growing in more ways than one: we are growing physically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, etc. Growth is a natural process. And from time to time, we are called to re/examine, re/evaluate, or re/confirm our beliefs. We all, without exception, go through this process. Be it in terms of our faith, career, relationship with our parents, relationship with our siblings, etc. It is a natural process until it comes to dealing with some sensitive subjects such as those related to religion. Most of our religious leaders do not want us to question, re/examine, re/evaluate, or re/confirm any “compartment” of our religious beliefs. Basically, they do not want us to grow spiritually.
Yet, when Jesus was on earth, he instructed his contemporaries to become perfect as God is. This, my brethren, was Jesus telling those who gathered around him to not stop the natural process of spiritual growth.
The natural process of spiritual growth drives us to think about what we believe in as individuals and also to reexamine or reaffirm whatever belief we have inherited from our parents, clergy, teachers, community, society, religion, nation, etc. In other words, Jesus was telling his contemporaries to reach the aim of their spiritual growth—perfection.
Now, I and probably some of you reading this article were taught that Jesus was perfect because he was born perfect. In other words, God made him perfect before he was even born. Now here is my question. I would like you to re/evaluate and re/confirm this with me as you are reading this article. If it is true that Jesus was born perfect, how can we, those of us who were not born perfect, even become perfect?
The same question can be asked differently because if Jesus was perfect from birth, meaning that it was by God’s design rather than by his own personal merit, how could he, Jesus, ask his contemporaries to be perfect like God? Didn’t he know that his contemporaries were not conceived through an immaculate conception? And, another thing, didn’t he know that since they were not conceived like he was that they could in no way reach perfection?
The fact that Jesus asked his contemporaries to become perfect means that it is not God, but human beings themselves who are agents of their perfection. It also means that if Jesus was perfect, it was not that God made him perfect, but rather that he became perfect.
If perfection were to be reached from birth, Jesus would not have wasted his time telling his contemporaries to strive for perfection. He, as the Messiah, would have known that it was impossible for sinful people to become perfect like God. But, the fact that Jesus invited his listeners to become perfect like God in heaven suggests that no one is born perfect. And that perfection does not come through an immaculate conception. I think it is time we all re/evaluate, re/examine, or re/confirm the concepts of Immaculate Conception and perfection.
As we approach the holiday seasons, and as we celebrate Christmas, let us celebrate with the awareness that Jesus called us to become perfect and contribute to the manifestation of God’s Kingdom on earth.
Happy Holidays everybody!